Enemy of All Mankind: A True Story of Piracy, Power, and History's First Global Manhunt
“Thoroughly engrossing . . . a spirited, suspenseful, economically told tale whose significance is manifest and whose pace never flags.” —The Wall Street Journal
From The New York Times–bestselling author of The Ghost Map and Extra Life, the story of a pirate who changed the world
Henry Every was the seventeenth century’s most notorious pirate. The press published wildly popular—and wildly inaccurate—reports of his nefarious adventures. The British government offered enormous bounties for his capture, alive or (preferably) dead. But Steven Johnson argues that Every’s most lasting legacy was his inadvertent triggering of a major shift in the global economy. Enemy of All Mankind focuses on one key event—the attack on an Indian treasure ship by Every and his crew—and its surprising repercussions across time and space. It’s the gripping tale of one of the most lucrative crimes in history, the first international manhunt, and the trial of the seventeenth century.
Johnson uses the extraordinary story of Henry Every and his crimes to explore the emergence of the East India Company, the British Empire, and the modern global marketplace: a densely interconnected planet ruled by nations and corporations. How did this unlikely pirate and his notorious crime end up playing a key role in the birth of multinational capitalism? In the same mode as Johnson’s classic nonfiction historical thriller The Ghost Map, Enemy of All Mankind deftly traces the path from a single struck match to a global conflagration.
Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of thirteen books, including Where Good Ideas Come From, How We Got to Now, The Ghost Map, and Extra Life. He’s the host and cocreator of the Emmy-winning PBS/BBC series How We Got to Now, the host of the podcast The TED Interview, and the author of the newsletter Adjacent Possible. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and Marin County, California, with his wife and three sons.